“But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.” Galatians 5:22-23
“Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.” 1 Corinthians 13:4-7
Today I want to talk about what love really is and what it is not. I believe that to truly understand love we have to re-program everything the world has told us about love. First we are going to look at things that love is not.
1. Love is not about me.
Woah, major shift from what we hear in the world today! “Things were not going my way”, “I was not happy with (insert male or female here) anymore”, “Why can’t I find someone to date/marry?”, etc. As long as we believe that love is all about us and about making us feel good then we can never truly experience love. Every relationship we encounter will leave us disappointed. Love is a gift, and gifts are meant to be given. I spent over 95% of my life single (not even kidding), and only when I realized that I was looking in all the wrong places and for all the wrong reasons did my heart begin to change. I was more concerned about looking for a person to meet my needs than becoming the type of person to meet someone else’s needs. I assumed that finding the right person would automatically make me the right person. My reasons for wanting a relationship were selfish, unintentionally selfish, but selfish none the less. But when I took a step back and began to seek God about becoming the right person rather than finding the right person a change happened in my heart. My view on love drastically changed. Everyone wants a good Christian boyfriend/girlfriend, but the truth of the matter is are you what those types of people are looking for? People will never be perfect, and they will never be able to meet all of our needs that is why we need Jesus. Only when we begin to change our view of love can we find true love, because just like 1 Corinthians 13 says “love does not demand its own way”. Until we realize that it is not about us can we really open our hearts to love imperfect people.
‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ Acts 20:35
2. Love is not a feeling.
People date and break up, marry and divorce all because they “fell out of love”. But I am convinced that love is not a feeling, but rather a conscience choice. People do not fall out of love, they merely choose to quit loving that person. They may focus that love on something or someone else, but the love is still there it is just not considered an option anymore. Love was never created to be conditional, or to have a time limit. I do not believe that was ever God’s intention, but rather another distortion of His perfect plan for us. God has given us a perfect model of love, through His son Jesus. I am so thankful that when I fall flat on my face, God does not give up on me. We are imperfect people trying to love imperfect people, things will not always be easy but when we choose love all the other options fall short.
“Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.” 1 Corinthians 13:7
3. Love does not live in the past.
I have a pretty good memory, which can be a good thing and a bad thing. If you ever say anything hurtful to me chances are I will remember it…and also the way you wore your hair that day and clothes you were wearing. I have a pretty detailed memory, and I have a hard time forgetting when I have been wronged, so this third point is not always an easy one. Things happen to us daily, good things and often bad things too. But when we walk in love we have to choose to not let that stand between us and the person that wronged us. We have to choose which is more important, that relationship or the issue. Holding the past against someone does not only affect our relationship with that person but also our relationship with God.
“But when you are praying, first forgive anyone you are holding a grudge against, so that your Father in heaven will forgive your sins, too.” Mark 11:25
You are going to get hurt, this a fact of life and there is no avoiding it. But you do not have to allow that hurt to overcome you. Trust me it will do you no good in the long run, I have been there and it will only keep you from God’s best for you.
“…it keeps no record of being wronged.” 1 Corinthians 13:5
Now that we have covered some things that love is not, I would like to talk about what love actually is.
1. Love is for everyone.
Love finds the good in people, and love brings out the good in people. Have you ever been around someone who could just light up a room, someone who was just so kind to everyone? I have known a couple of people like that! They were different and in the very best way. It is so hard to come by people that genuinely love and radiate kindness. What if more people chose to love just for the sake of being kind, wanting absolutely nothing in return? What a beautiful world we would live in if that were the case. The Bible says to treat others the way that we would like to be treated, but how often do we actually do this? How often do we treat others the exact opposite of how we would like to be treated? No one ever came closer to Jesus by Christians treating them with unkindness. You do not have to agree with someone’s life decisions to love them, love does not have to equal approval. God does not approve of everything we do, but He loves us anyway! His love draws us closer to Him not further away. Your love can do that too, choose to love people so much that you point them to Jesus!
“Do to others as you would like them to do to you.” Luke 6:31
2. Love is loud.
Your love should be obnoxious! When people are in a relationship it shows up everywhere! Suddenly social media is blown up with the happy couple because they are just so happy to be together and they want to share that love with that world. The same should go for our love for God. No one should have any doubt about the love God has put in your heart. Tell everyone the great love He has given you, no one should have to ask what makes you different. Post it on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram. God’s love has changed your life and everyone needs to know about it. Do not go around looking miserable, smile, laugh…radiate the love you have experienced through Christ. Being a Christian is not a chore, it is a lifestyle of love. Treat everyone around you with love, ask the cashier how their day is going, leave your waiter a little extra tip, see an opportunity to love and seize it. It is the little things that can make the biggest difference. Love out loud my friends!
“Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ. He loved us and offered himself as a sacrifice for us, a pleasing aroma to God.” Ephesians 5:2
3. Love is Jesus.
Last but certainly not least is “Love is Jesus”. He is the epitome of love. He came from the best seat in the house, the right hand seat of God, to this earth for the sole purpose of dying for each and every one of us. What a great example of love!! No one was, is , or ever will be exempt from this great love. Christ had never sinned yet took on every sin that was and ever will be committed, because He loves you. He loved you before you were ever even born. And if you learned absolutely nothing else from the post I hope you learned that! If you do not know that love I pray that you would seek it, I pray that you would accept Jesus as your loving Savior. He is only a prayer away, you are only a prayer away from a lifetime of love. (If you would like to pray that prayer today but do not know what to say please go the “Free Gift” tab at the top of the home page for more information.)
“But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.” Romans 5:8
“For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16
This is the first fruit of the Spirit, and the greatest commandment of them all: Love God, Love People. You can not successfully do one without the other. I am so very excited about this journey through Galatians 5:22-23, tune in for our next post soon!
Love out loud my Friends,